Last night my daughter and I were invited to a special preview showing of Katy Perry: Part of Me, The Movie in my old neighborhood in NYC. As we headed in right after camp and swim lessons, refreshed and ready for a night on the town, I could sense her excitement. And I was pretty excited, too. For me, Katy Perry is a throw back to the music I liked when I was her age – Blondie, Bananarama, even Weird Al Yancovic with all her crazy costumes and wigs. She’s what I consider to be my guilty pleasure – music that I groove out while driving the car, music that brings a huge smile to my face no matter what.
The movie follows her 365 day 2011 tour fille with dazzling costumes, lavish sets, confetti, her beloved crew that consists of friends and family, and more. Best of all, it’s all in 3D, so some of the concert scenes are eye-popping with bubbles and bouncing balls throwing themselves into your lap. And the pin glasses in her honor are cosmic.
But it’s not just a film about Perry and her life and career. It starts out and finishes with an anti-bullying message complete with short vignettes of children who are inspired by Perry. One child says, “Katy tells us it’s okay to stand out, it’s okay to be unique.” At 18, Perry knew that she wanted to be famous, but even then she knew that it came with responsibilities Today, with songs like “Do You Ever Feel,” she makes it clear to the younger generation that it’s okay to be different. Kudos to the film’s production team for using the film as a forum to teach and inspire children of all ages coming to see the film about their favorite musician.
But there is also a lot to learn about Perry in this well-made film, and much of it humanizes her, like the following:
– Her parents were traveling ministers and she was only allowed to listen to Christian music until she was 18. The only film she was ever allowed to see was “Sister Act 2″. When she finally heard Alanis Morisette, she learned that there was another way to explore music and speak your mind, so she moved to Los Angeles to launch her career.
– Her career, with Glen Ballard as her first producer when she was signed on with Island Def Jam, took time to kick off, as the label wanted her to be the next Avirl Lavigne. She was determined to be Katy Perry, and when she got signed by Columbia Records, that is who she finally became. Herself and no one else.
– Perry is the first female artist to ever have five #1 singles from the same album.
– At every concert during this tour, her sister led a”Meet & Greets” – right before every single concert, she met kids and parents backstage, many of whom were from the Make-a-Wish Foundation (children who’s last wishes are granted and meeting Perry is one for many of them), and invited many of them to come up on stage during her show.
– The film puts a big emphasis on her relationship with Russell Brand, who she married right before the tour began. She worked really hard on making their marriage work, she was certainly wild about him. He texted her, came on tour with her and she spent every tour break traveling to be with him (he never came to her). He was her “one that got away” and when he breaks up with her (from a distance, the jerk), she is beside herself, crazy in love with him. Proof that even movie It came down to a choice between her career and love, and I believe that one day she will certainly have it all.
– Perry is very close to her grandmother, who she visits on her sold-out 124 area shows across the world, in Las Vegas. Her grandmother is a sharp lady who says exactly what she feels and grounds Perry, who shows up to visit in very glam garb. When they talk about her upbringing and how much they traveled and the effects it has on children, Perry said point blankly, “But we turned out okay” (meaning her and her two siblings). To that, her grandma responded, “As far as I know!” with a loving laugh.
At the end of the film, we see the last concert of the tour with her grandmother and parents on stage. It’s been a tumultuous year full of up ups and downs. Clearly still hung up on Brand, she still believes in fairy tale endings. The tears shed for him are palpable, good for a 3D film (not really) as she sings “Not Like the Movies”:
Snow White said when I was young,
“One day my prince will come”
So I wait for that day
They say it’s hard to meet your match
Find my better half
So we make perfect shapes.
The dream team behind this movie includes Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz (Directors) and Brian Grazer (Producer). The Directors covered every side of her tour, the highs and the lows, the fact and the fiction. For that, I applaud them. For my daughter, there’s a new kid in town in our house – Selena Gomez will no longer reign. Looks like Katy Perry is joining the ranks.
Katy Perry: Part of Me, The Movie starts this Thursday, check out your local listings.
Check out the trailer:
Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets to facilitate this review, but all opinions are my own.